HeatHack is a group of volunteers working on an interesting question: how can we make the UK’s community spaces comfortable on less energy use? Churches, halls, and community centres are difficult to move to Net Zero – but many groups, from children’s nurseries to dementia care, rely on them. They are some of the hardest buildings to manage because they are usually traditionally built, often listed, and almost never designed to modern heating requirements.
We have two goals: helping property managers and building users understand how heating and heat loss in these spaces work now and could work in the future, and collecting the data that energy efficiency consultants and conservation architects need to be confident about how to retrofit them.
Over the years, we have developed techniques for
- teaching building managers and users how core concepts like thermal comfort and heat loss apply to their buildings, including how daily multi-purpose use might change how the building feels
- diagnosing heating system faults, including problems with the choice of end user controls
- monitoring temperature and relative humidity cheaply and with low skill required
- assessing heat loss and exploring the likely effects of possible mitigations
Our work empowers the volunteers who manage community buildings to have the right conversations with the professionals they engage, leading to better building outcomes.
Jean Carletta runs HeatHack as an informal voluntary organisation.